Portland Half Marathon Race Report – Alex Nydahl

Get runner Alex Nydahl’s take on the Portland Half-Marathon in this race report!

Race: Portland Half Marathon

Runner: Alex Nydahl

Race Date: 10/03/2021

Location: Portland, OR

Results: 1:25:55

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6058650209

3 Bests – What aspects of the Portland Half-Marathon did you like the most?

  1. The conditions! October in Portland can range from squall to sunny and warm. We hit the jackpot with clear skies and a temperature of 47F/8C when the gun went off at sunrise.
  2. Aid stations were every other mile for the first half, and every mile for the second half, with Nuun, water, and bathrooms at all, and PowerBar gels/shots and fruit at about half. For the half, I only took on liquids, but having something available that frequently was great.
  3. The course itself was nice and flat, with a few gradual climbs and one slightly steeper (short) hill at 9 miles. You get a nice sense of the city’s southwest and southeast neighborhoods, and there were friendly neighbors outside cheering the entire way.

Not so much – What aspects of the Portland Half-Marathon didn’t do it for you?

I don’t envy the race photographers, but for a clear, sunny day, I was a bit disappointed by the race photos.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your half-marathon in particular?

Despite nursing some significant Achilles issues for the week before the race, I lined up with my goal pace group (1:30 or 6:51/mi). After about a mile and a half into the race, I was feeling comfortable and smooth at about 6:30, and decided to listen to my legs and not hold back, which worked out great! On the final climb up and across the Burnside bridge, I could feel my form starting to slip, but was able to hold on and finish strong, moving up one spot in my age group in the last half mile.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Getting to the starting line via car can be challenging due to street closures and the downtown location. Parking or getting dropped off on the east side of river and walking across the Hawthorne bridge just adds a nice half mile walk or jog and lands you right at the starting line.

Aesthetics – Is the Portland Half-Marathon a pretty course?

Very much so!

Difficulty – Is the Portland Half-Marathon a tough course?

It’s not the absolute flattest or fastest, but there were plenty of PRs!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Very well-organized. Plenty of bathrooms at the start, drop bag system worked well, clear pre-race communications.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I mean, no one is breaking 60:00 on this course, but the top 10 ranged from 1:07 to 1:17, so pretty darn quick.

Logistics – Does the Portland Half-Marathon require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Easy to register, with a reasonable cancel/defer option.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, absolutely, though the start/finish area is a bit more challenging to get to due to traffic and street closures.

How’s the Swag?

The race shirts are a little chintzy. Would love to see races move to printing on high-quality blanks from respected brands, and away from the plastic-feeling “tech” shirts that seem to be the new norm.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?


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